In 1808, President Thomas Jefferson stated the matter bluntly: “I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline, or exercises.”

Fast forward 204 years and President Barack Obama has reversed that logic, ordering religious institutions to provide insurance coverage for employees that must include contraceptives, including those that may induce an abortion.

Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services made the announcement January 20, stating: “Today the department is announcing that the final rule on preventive health services will ensure that women with health insurance coverage will have access to the full range of the Institute of Medicine’s recommended preventive services, including all FDA-approved forms of contraception.”

The ruling had been much anticipated as a consequence of President Obama’s health care reform. The new law required the administration to determine what elements would be included in the mandated coverage. The administration first determined that the preventative care provision would include coverage of contraceptives. The second step was determining that this coverage would include, as Secretary Sebelius restated it, “all FDA-approved forms of contraception.” These include drugs known as Plan B, which is taken after the possibility of fertilization, thus functioning as an inducer of abortion. The plans must also provide sterilization procedures for women without deductibles or co-payments….

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